Court Resumes After Lunch Break: Examination of Witness TF1-585 Continues

1:30pm: Court resumed after lunch break and prosecution counsel Mr. Mohamed Bangura continued the examination of Witness TF1-585 in open session. Mr. Bangura asked the witness several questions relating to radio communications between Brigadier Mannie and Sam Bockarie during the January 6 1999 invasion of Freetown, Benjamin Yeaten’s visits to Buedu in Kailahun and Sam Bockarie’s departure from the RUF and his subsequent move to Liberia and later Ivory Coast.

Radio Communications during the January 1999 Invasion of Freetown

The witness testified that during the January 1999 invasion of Freetown, Brig. Mannie and Sam Bockarie were in constant radio communication. The witness said that Brig. Mannie gave regular updates to Sam Bockarie who in turn went on the BBC and informed the world of how the AFRC/RUF soldiers were moving in Freetown.  The witness said she was on duty sometimes when Bockarie spoke on the radio and that sometimes, Bpckarie will talk in the open to the hearing of all. The witness said that two RUF operators, Waco Waco and King Pery were with Gullit, commander of the troops that entered Freetown. The witness said that Alice Pyne also updated her of the movement of the forces into Freetown. The witness said that SAJ Musa and Sam Bockarie had a strange relationship but that after the death of SAJ Musa, communications between Gullit and Sam Bockarie became more effective. The witness said that when the troops entered Freetown, the news was on all radio stations. The witness said that upon hearing the news, Benjamin Yeaten called Bockarie and asked him whether it was true that they had entered Freetown. The witness said when Bockarie confirmed the news, Yeaten congratulated him and told him he was going to visit him in two days. The witness said that Yeaten also told Bockarie to turn on his satelite phone as Charles Taylor wanted to talk to him. The witness could not say what Taylor and Bockarie discussed. After the said two days, the witness said that Yeaten indeed visited Bockarie in Buedu, together with Jungle, Samson and Juniro. The witness said that the troops could not hold Freetown and that ECOMOG forces forced them to retreat. While in Freetown, the witness said that the forces broke into Pademba Road and freed all prisoners. The witness said that Bockarie ordered that all prisoners, including Gibril Massaquoi who had been imprisoned at Pademba Road, should be brought to Buedu. The witness said that while many prisoners were taken there, Gibril Massaquoi refised to go to Buedu.

Bockarie Leaves the RUF

The witness was asked questions about how Sam Bockarie left the RUF. The witness explained that there were infightings between Sankoh, Issa Sesay and Sam Bockarie. The witness said that while Sam Bockarie and Issa had probleems, Bockarie and Sankoh also had a suspicious relationship. The witness said that Sankoh accused Bockarie of wanting to overthrow him and take over the RUF. The witness said that this problem led Sam Bockarie to leave the RUF. Before leaving, the witness said that Sam Bockarie called a meeting for all members of the RUF in Buedu and informed them that Sankoh did not note his worth to the movement and that he was leaving the revolution. The witness said that Bockarie told them that Charles Taylor had decided to give him refuge and that since Sankoh did not know his worth, he was ready to make very good use of him.

The witness said that when Bockarie left for Liberia, many fighters and civilians followed him.  The witness said tha groups were first dispatched and when Bockarie left later, he went through Foya, where Jungle and others came and received him. The witness said Bockarie later told them that Taylor had bought a house for them. She said that Bocakrie told them that all fighters who had come with him were to be taken to the training base and be trained to joing the Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU).

Bockarie Moves to Ivory Coast

The witness said that while in Liberia, Taylor asked Bockarie to go to Ivory Coast to fight against Ivorian forces there. The witness said she went with Bockarie to Ivory Coast. She said that when the group later tried to return to Liberia, they were stopped by Taylor’s forces on the Liberian border with Ivory Coast. The witness said they were told that Taylor had given orders that Bockarie and his men were not to be allowed to re-enter Liberia because the UN were trying to investigate links between Bockarie and Taylor as well as reports emaning that Taylor had sent him to fight in Liberia. The witness said that they later entered Liberia but at some point, Yeaten and others came and took Bockarie away, saying that Taylor wanted to see him. She said that Bockarie was taken to another village. She said that Yeaten later came and asked them to go and fight against LURD rebels. The witness said that when some of Yeaten’s other forces started dancing and singing, a member of Sam Bockarie’s security forces becamse suspicious that some thing was wrong.

The court adjourned for the day.